This trip was my 9th to India, and my first on an organised tour, usually I just head off with no definite plans, climb on and off trains and buses and check into likely looking hotels on the go. It was very different travelling with a group, having to sit on a bus for long hours without being able to get off where and when I felt like, and, be constrained by an over zealous guide. I understand why it had to be like that, and ...mostly.....submitted with good grace but often ill-concealed impatience! But I believe all journeys encompass the inner as well as the outer, and this trip certainly presented me with some wonderful opportunities to do some self-reflection!
But all that's done now, and my friend Christine and I did manage some adventures by ourselves, heading off to an amazing temple standing on the edge of the Arabian Sea, and then east and north to West Bengal and Darjeeling.......that was really good, to just wander and explore and do it "our way".
The purpose of the tour was to explore the textiles, artistes and culture of Rajasthan and Gujarat. There were hands-on activities of block printing; chundri - tie and dye; indigo dyeing; mud resist block printing, over-dyed with iron water. We saw fabulous old forts and palaces; a step-well dating back 5700 years; watched weavers making rugs and carpets, using age old patterns that have been passed down verbally through their families. We stood at the very western edge of India on the Arabian Sea and then were left speechless and awe struck at the serene beauty of the White Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, a salt marsh desert stretching from the coast of India to the Pakistan border.
So here's some 'postcards' of the trip.....not 700 I promise........although there were so many I wanted to include, that evoked a memory, a conversation, a smile or a laugh, or a sigh of delight. They're in no particular order, just snaps that caught my eye as I scrolled, edited and collaged. If you click on the collages you'll see a larger image.
***It didn't look like this lot were all that pleased to see me back, they were pretty fond of the house-sitters, I think, who were wonderful and did a great job of taking care of everything. Their attitude has changed somewhat now that I'm the one feeding them!
I hope to post more pics and stories of India in another post.
till next time.............